I recently watched a television program that had some graphic scenes of battle and injury. It’s interesting that of all that I watched that day, the scene that sticks in my mind is the gory one. My mind doesn’t replay the family scenes or victory segments, but the one where there is extreme pain and sorrow.
Something about our human nature tends to gravitate to the less than healthy. Our newscasts focus on the bad things happening in the world. We don’t hesitate to share gossip about our neighbours…things like that. But these things wear on us. What happens when we continue to let the bad dominate our minds? It is bad that comes out in our words and actions.
The apostle Paul knew this to be a problem when he wrote: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
What am I filling my mind with these days? Sometimes it is really difficult to fill it with positive things. But Paul provides me with many suggestions in this passage. I can think about God’s Word of truth and honourable words and deeds of my fellow man. There is great beauty in the world to cherish and many admirable qualities in people to emulate. I can focus on successes and things that build me and others up.
It’s not a thought pattern that the world encourages. But with God’s help I can let go of the thoughts that take me away from Him and direct my thinking towards the positive. There is definitely much that is praiseworthy on which to focus my thoughts.
Of course, the best thing to fill my mind with is God’s Word and communion with Him. It really helps when the bad stuff wants to intrude. I need to pray that God will direct my mind to that which is good and right – definitely a work in progress.